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Earlier this week the C++ tag showed about 13k followers. Yesterday it showed 19k. Now it shows 14.8k.

Why this variability?

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

13k is the correct value for C++ at this moment - there was a bug in the way cached values were being pulled for display.

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Off-hand I think it has to do with using "short-hand notation" and the way the calculation is done. I subscribed to a few tags, then later on (After being plastered with emails) unsubscribed. When I did so (after a fresh page refresh) it would say "15k subscribers", then I would unsubscribe and it was like 14k. (Though the site is popular, I can't image there are that many active users, and more specifically those targeting that individual tag).

I almost feel it doesn't re-display the count, it just takes the value embedded in the page and subtracts/adds (regardless of which notation is being displayed).

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I'm having a hard time believing that either the short-hand notation or users subscribing and unsubscribing is responsible for a 6,000 user difference in the count over a matter of a few days. – James McNellis Jan 29 '11 at 21:37
    
I agree, i just believe it's in the display algorithm. Something's strange about it, maybe even a spoof in the query that calculates the number--who knows. Either way, you're absolutely right, the tag subscription counts jumps greatly in a short amount of time. – Brad Christie Jan 29 '11 at 21:39

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